‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ could be the motto of this riverside restaurant, which continues serenely through its third decade. Originally part of the stables and coach house for Barnes Council refuse depot (hence the name), it’s a handsome spot, all gleaming wood, bare brick and striped banquettes, with a separate bar at one end.A skeleton boat hangs from the ceiling, and the window tables are much sought after (inevitably, the place is packed for the Boat Race).
It caters for all kinds of diners, from loved-up couples to multi-generational family groups. The menu majors on comforting brasserie staples done well – bavette with chips and béarnaise, smoked chicken caesar salad, an exemplary fish cake – with the occasional inventive twist (goat’s cheese soufflé with saffron-poached pears) or seasonal ingredient (wild garlic). Desserts have always been a strong point: tangy lemon posset with blackberries and crumbly shortbread was a treat, but it’s the sticky, creamy, indulgent eton mess that always wins us over.
Sunday roast lunch is something of a local tradition. Drinks run from cocktails to a fairly priced wine list, and there’s always some kind of set menu or special deal. Staff are friendly, but can get overwhelmed when the place is full.